An equine extravaganza featuring around 50 horses and ponies, from Shires to Shetlands, is taking place at Beamish Museum this weekend.
During the exhibition, called Horses at Work, visitors can see magnificent horses in action around the museum, enjoy a ride on horse-drawn vehicles, watch impressive displays, meet the pit pony and pack horse and take part in fun family activities.
Horses at Work will be the biggest and best yet, after being extended to three days this year due to its huge popularity. The event is a unique chance to see a variety of horses, including Clydesdales, Percherons, Gelderlanders and Friesians, and lots of historic vehicles in the settings where they would have once been a common sight.
A First World War encampment will be set up in The Pit Village, featuring the 16th Lancers Cavalry Unit, alongside the 29th Field Kitchen, who will be serving up samples.
Horse-drawn passenger vehicles, including wagonettes, broughams, brakes and charabancs, will be giving free rides. Visitors can also see the wooden waggonway and horse-powered gin - used to raise coal and men from the mines - in action. They can meet the pit ponies in the school yard and get a hoof print “autograph” and make their own peg doll horses.
Horses will be at work in the fields, preparing for spring planting, and will be transporting goods around the museum. A farrier demonstration will take place in The Town stables on Friday.
Chris Thompson, Horse Operations Team Leader, said: “This event is an amazing opportunity for us to show how important the use of horses was throughout the 1800s and 1900s. Now in its third year and extended to three days, Horses at Work will be bigger and better than ever before.”
Horses at Work is the final event in the Great North Festival of Transport, which also featured Old King Coal and the Great North Steam Fair. The event is included in admission to Beamish. Unlimited Passes, which are valid for 12 months, can be used, as with all daytime events and festivals.
Horses at Work runs from 21st to 23rd April. For more information on Horses at Work, visit www.beamish.org.uk